by Jamil Muhammad
On this 25th day, as the Sacred Month of Ramadan draws to a close, Muslims all across Black America and around the globe share an excitement, joy and sense of togetherness that defies description. From large edifices in the suburbs to storefront masajid in city after city, we gather for salat, classes, Iftars and Tarawih Prayer. There really is nothing to compare with Ramadan, and true Believers’ hearts burst with gratitude to Allah for His many blessings.
But this year, our Holy Month takes on added significance because of both the powerful benefit from the fast by Allah’s permission, and the gathering storm clouds of challenge on the horizon of America’s attitude toward Muslims.
Juz 25 of the Holy Qur’an is rich and ripe with wise and timely direction for us as individuals, as jammats in our various mosques and study groups, and as a multifaceted national community of “Black Muslims” bound together by faith, history, culture, plight and destiny. We need each other. All of us. We need each other!
I believe Allah is with us to make a change in our own condition, if we get up and do for self.
The fact is, and it is a fact, that we could progress more in every avenue of our Islamic endeavor if we would unite. We should build on what we have in common, and enact principle cooperation on shared goals. There is no way that any Muslimah and her children should be homeless and hungry. No sister of ours should be abused by a man who stood before Allah and affirmed that he would protect her. No illiteracy, crime, sloth, filth or aggravated poverty should exist among a vast and resource-rich community like ours. I believe Allah is with us to make a change in our own condition, if we get up and do for self.
We have differences in shading and nuance of belief and practice, but so what? How can we jump over brotherhood among ourselves to seek it among people who have never undergone the horrors of slavery and its smoldering aftermath? We cannot, and especially if we all have (as we do) a legitimate claim on this beautiful religion of Islam.
Look how the Holy Qur’an explains it in Juz’ 25:
And in whatever you differ, the judgment thereof is with Allah. That is Allah, my Lord; on Him I rely, and to Him I turn. – 42:10
And they were not divided until after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves…– 42:14
Quite frankly, Black Muslims in America have an embarrassment of riches, whatever our schools of thought or ways of devotion. Right here among us are some of the Muslim world’s most compellingly accomplished scholars. We have as our family some who can call multitudes to action with discipline and esprit de corps and others who shine bright in nearly every field and endeavor. We are blessed with a vital Black Muslim culture that, like the proverbial rose in Spanish Harlem, keeps growing right up through the concrete of America’s cold and unforgiving ghettos.
Alas, perhaps that is our challenge. Because knowledge, and like your Mama told you, “a little knowledge”, often makes its possessor drunk with false self assurance. Envy and sniping are all too often allowed to take hold where brotherhood under Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) should be firmly rooted. But isn’t it interesting that early after our acceptance of Islam, when we knew the least, we are united, fired up and unstoppable?
On this 25th day of our Blessed month of Ramadan, I call on us to follow the example of our Beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the above cited 42:10, and rely on Allah to judge, and turn to Him in all our affairs and in repentance. Indeed, we must make tawbah for having a rich understanding of this glorious Islam, but because we have not yet fully united to take wise and compassionate counsel among ourselves, our people are in shambles.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In just a few days insha’Allah, we will be a part of the gathering of hundreds of thousands of Muslims for Eid al-Fitr. From Roxbury to Rialto and from Sacramento to South Philly, we will come to prayerfully mark the return to the natural order after our fast. We should be stronger, more resolved to set aright our differences as individuals and as congregations, and eager to get after our poor and suffering people to gather them under the banner of Islam.
Just watch. You’ll see bow ties hugging kufis and laughing the throaty laugh seldom heard outside the sanctuary of the barbershop. You’ll look around and see khimars, hijabs and headpieces sharing the sisterly love that Black women know without a word and can express in a single warm glance that says “mmmm hmm”.
We should be stronger, more resolved to set aright our differences as individuals and as congregations, and eager to get after our poor and suffering people to gather them under the banner of Islam.
When we all get together in the name of Allah and love each other and our people for the sake of Allah, just watch. It will be clear that, as al-Kitab reads
“…And those who do good are in the meadows of the Gardens — they have what they please with their Lord. That is the great grace. This it is of which Allah gives the good news to His servants, who believe and do good. Say: I ask of you naught in return for it but love for relatives.” – 22:23
It’s time, family. Let us love one another enough to make the beauty of this deen clearer and clearer to our kinfolk in this strange land called America. We want, if it be the will of Allah, Cousin Butchie, Aunt Cleo, Miss Connie and Lil Sis, Skeeter, Reds and of course, Mama and ‘nem…to see the glory of Islam through the lens of our unified diversity. This is our prayer. Ameen.
This article was originally published in 2016.
Jamil Muhammad is an historian and writer. He is also a long time helper of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and has served as his National Spokesman, Southern Regional and local minister in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans.